Seeing the Star | Chamber Choir Ireland & Andrew Synnott
Ireland’s national chamber choir herald the Christmas season with festive works from the last 100 years.
This December, Chamber Choir Ireland performs a selection of seasonal works from the 20th and 21st centuries. Led by guest director Andrew Synnott, the programme features Olivier Messiaen’s triumphant ‘Dieu parmis nous’, James MacMillan’s early work The Lamb has come for us from the House of David, and Benjamin Britten’s eccentric Rejoice in the Lamb.
In his Four Christmas Motets, Francis Poulenc depicts four scenes: the hushed awe of the nativity scene; the breathless excitement of the shepherds; the Wise Men travelling through a serene starlit night; and an explosion of joy – ‘Christ is born today!’
The selection also features pieces by contemporary Irish composers, Rhona Clarke and Eoghan Desmond.
Clarke’s Three Carols on Medieval Texts include the rhythmic ‘Glad and Blithe’, a tranquil portrait of mother and child in ‘Lullay My Liking’, and the celebratory ‘Make We Merry’. A marriage of old and new, they take their medieval influence not just from the texts, but also from the place where Clarke began composing them: one of the Skellig Islands, known for its 6th century monastic ruins.
Desmond’s Awake Ye Drowsey Mortals All alternates between a chorus of shepherds and their lusty, rustic Dorset carol; and a choir of angels announcing the birth of Christ, before bringing their voices together for a jubilant “Alleluia!”.